Deny Not the Gifts of God

January 22, 2006 | 34 comments
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I think Terryl Givens was right. I think a primary purpose of the Book of Mormon is to drive each of us toward real dialogue with the living God. And I think Moroni is right – that if we as Mormons are not experiencing some kind of regular dialogue with God we are denying the gifts of God.

If there is any one subject I have focused on in the last year at the Thang, it is personal revelation. I write a lot about it because I honestly believe that personal revelation is the best solution to nearly all of our individual spiritual problems (and many of our earthly problems too).

First, let me explain the connection between personal revelation and the rest of the gifts of God as described in Moroni 10. If you hadn’t noticed already, each of the gifts of the Spirit listed in verses 9-16 require personal revelation of some kind:

– Teaching the word of wisdom or knowledge by the Spirit (Requires inspiration and revelation)
– Great faith (Given directly from God to us through revelation)
– Healing (Given as a result of revelation — either revealed during the laying on of hands or during dialogic prayer or both.)
– Working of mighty miracles (Requires revelation – see D&C 8:3)
– Prophesy
– Beholding angels
– Gift of tongues and interpretation of tongues (Requires inspiration/revelation)

I’ve said it before, but I really believe that if we are not receiving some form of regular revelation from God we are wasting our Mormonism. In fact, the message I get from the Book of Mormon is not that the people we learn about in that record are untouchable great prophets of some ancient mythic age, but rather that they were mostly regular folks that had consistent dialogue with God. I think Nephi is essentially saying “I talked to God a lot and he spoke back to me – you can and should do the same�. But Moroni seems to be prophesying that we will have difficulty actually doing that. In his last words I get the impression that he is pleading with us not to put him and the other men he wrote about on a pedestal, but rather to do as they did and receive regular personal revelation just like they did. If the people we revere in the Book of Mormon are prophets then each and every one of us should be prophets within our own spheres/stewardships too. In fact, Wilford Woodruff taught that the gifts of God were among the things that were lost from the earth during the great apostasy and that were restored again to us. If we are not individually accessing at least some of the gifts of God (via personal revelation) could that mean we are closer to personal apostasy than we realize?

Last Spring I posted on some horrible news I learned about a friend of mine. I discovered that he had left his wife and three small children and the church. He was in his mid thirties, a high priest (due to his service in a bishopric), a returned missionary, and an overall kind and reliable and generous friend, husband, and father. Then seemingly out of the blue this happened. Upon further searching we discovered that the cause of his choice was not the common things we often hear about in these cases – we know of no pornography problems, no substance abuse, and no adultery. There was reportedly no major iniquity that led to this shocking action. From all accounts it was simply that he had gone for too many years without hearing (or at least recognizing) the voice of God for himself. He eventually decided that it meant there was no God and therefore his whole life was a mistake. He made the choice to dump his life and try a new one.

It’s such a tragedy. I still mourn for his sweet wife and three little ones. I mourn for him too. I mourn because he got it wrong — there actually is a God. I know that for sure because God talks to me. He talks to me in promptings sometimes, in ideas sometimes, and even on special occasions I am given prophetic dreams. People in the bloggernacle sometimes whine about how we Mormons use the term “I knowâ€? about spiritual things; but when it comes to the question of whether God exists or not — I know.

What would I have told my friend had I known of his struggles? I would have tried to relay to him where to start when it comes to personal revelation. I would have tried to help him understand that the messages from God are often there but our spiritual ears need to be trained to discern them. If he could have “broken through� and clearly heard and felt the voice and presence of God I believe it could have changed things. But it was too late for any of that by the time I got word. He won’t return my calls.

But I suspect that there are brothers and sisters that are quietly and regularly reading here at T&S and in other parts of the bloggernacle who are sort of like my friend and that it is not too late for them. I suspect they are people who are spiritually struggling but have not made their minds up yet. I imagine they are people who, like him, haven’t heard or recognized or comprehended the direct voice of God in far too long. People who are wondering what is so special about Mormonism or if there is a God at all. To them, let me add a quote from President Faust:

No earthly authority can separate us from direct access to our Creator… We do not need to go through secretaries or make an appointment to reach the throne of grace. He is reachable at any time and any place. (James E. Faust, “The Lifeline of Prayer,� Ensign, May 2002, 59)

To you who are spiritually teetering on the brink I would plead that you don’t give up until you break through and hear from God at least one more time (I’m assuming most in the church have had at least one revelatory moments in their lives). Pull an Enos if you must. But there is nothing more important in life than to get this question right.

To all, I’ll quote Moroni:

For if there be one among you that doeth good, he shall work by the power of the gifts of God. (Moro 10:25)

May we do good. May we deny not the gifts of God. May we regularly receive personal revelation.

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34 Responses to Deny Not the Gifts of God

  1. CS Eric on January 22, 2006 at 8:14 pm

    Thanks Geoff, for this reminder.

  2. sarebear on January 22, 2006 at 8:41 pm

    Wow. I am so sorry your friend did that, and I feel for his family and friends.

    Wow. Really good post.

    I feel like relating an experience I had, when I was 14. (Hopes no one is groaning right now, lol!)

    I lived two hours north of NYC, right along the Hudson River. This doesn’t really matter, except that being familiar with Palmyra and the Sacred Grove, having gone there almost every year, I felt a kind of connection to that history.

    I was 14, and struggling with alot of things. I wondered how much was teenage angst, and how much were matters of substance. I wrestled with alot of spiritual things, such as, does God really care about me, and does He really answer prayers, and will He pay attention to me, listen, and talk to me? Matters of the essence of faith, and how one gets it, and where to start, and how to nourish it, and how to FEEL that faith, among other things.

    I decided, one day, after thinking much on it, to do as Joseph Smith did; I even looked up the scripture that prompted him:

    5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

    (New Testament | James 1:5)

    I decided, that if he, at 14, could receive revelation, could have a personal relationship with God, and that God heard him . . . . and answered him, then I could do my best to try to as well.

    I did not have ANY expectation of a grand manifestation of God or any heavenly beings; I just sincerely wanted to KNOW that He would answer me, and I wanted to learn about the myriad of things I was struggling with.

    I didn’t remember Enos specifically, but I did remember that there was a scriptural account of someone who had stayed on their knees in prayer for a long length of time. I decided that even if I didn’t have faith, I could act as though I did, and stay on my knees in prayer until I received an answer.

    I wasn’t daring God to prove anything to me; I was deeply and earnestly seeking enlightenment.

    I knelt down upon the tile floor, and prayed. I prayed for a length of time, and then fell silent and just listened. I did my best to keep my mind and heart focused on being open to hearing from God; to keep it focused on the prayer, and, as the hours wore on, I let my mind wander to spiritual things, but tried my best to keep out the usual mundane things. After some hours, I did decide that God wouldn’t mind if I grabbed a pillow off the bed I was knelt beside, to put beneath my knees as the floor was really hard and cold. Lol!

    After many hours, I began to feel . . . something. An indescribable change inside, an indescribable profound, and soufully deep SOMETHING. I pondered it, and examined it, and prayed about it. Whatever it was, I knew it was good.

    Shortly after, I concluded my prayer, with gratitude to the Lord, and then lay upon my bed with a spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional tiredness. I felt a deep and quiet thankfulness and appreciation for this gift I had received, for it did feel like a gift from God.

    It was about 6 months before I understood what I had received, as I sat in Sacrament meeting, beside a less-active and troubled member of the Mia Maids (I was the President). Sacrament meeting had yet to begin, and I opened the Book of Mormon and started reading.

    I read in Alma 32, and realized that this indescribable something, that had taken root inside me, was faith. The faith I had been praying about . . . to tangibly FEEL it with my spirit and soul, in an indescribable way . . . it was the most precious and deeply essential spiritual experience of my life. (I have not been through the temple yet, so I don’t know about those things). And, as I was 14, I didn’t have much life experience to compete with it, lol!

    There was another scripture from early in 2nd Nephi that helped round out my spiritual realizations and revelations, but I can’t quite nail it down right now.

    I do not relate this story to boast of my experience or my faith. I relate it to illustrate at least some of what Geoff was saying . . . .and please DO experiment upon the word, as Alma 32 says . . . . it DOES work, and He DOES listen, and answer, though it may not be when, how, and what you prayed for. And sometimes the answer may be years or decades away, but how sweet is the joy when those long-delayed answers are received . . .

    I don’t know if I should close this testimony like in church? Or if it is even appropriate to type out my testimony like this, of faith and prayer, and personal revelation?

    But I guess I just did, so I hope it’s okay.

    In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

  3. Geoff J on January 22, 2006 at 9:37 pm

    Wow, a mini testimony meeting just broke out! Thanks Sarebear.

    BTW — I assume that wasn’t the last time you received communication from God… ;-)

  4. Emma's Son on January 22, 2006 at 10:01 pm

    This is an age old problem the children of men have dealt with since the days of Moses. They refused to rise up and met God face to face and deferred that responsibility to Moses. “And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die. And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you …� (Exodus 20:18-20)

    Others misunderstood what Moses was trying to do:

    “And Moses went out, and told the people the words of the LORD, and gathered the seventy men of the elders of the people, and set them round about the tabernacle. And the LORD came down in a cloud, and spake unto him, and took of the spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders: and it came to pass, that, when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease. But there remained two of the men in the camp, the name of the one was Eldad, and the name of the other Medad: and the spirit rested upon them; and they were of them that were written, but went not out unto the tabernacle: and they prophesied in the camp. And there ran a young man, and told Moses, and said, Eldad and Medad do prophesy in the camp. And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Moses, one of his young men, answered and said, My lord Moses, forbid them. And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the LORD’S people were prophets, and that the LORD would put his spirit upon them!â€? (Num. 11:24-29)
    Joseph Smith not only tried to share his experiences with others, but he has tried for others including us to have similar experiences or greater ones. However, most refuse to climb the mountain either out of fear, doubt, ignorance or the knowledge that such experiences will bring on greater tests.

    There is something in the gospel called the tests of Abraham. If you follow his life and his encounters with God you will see that the Lord tried his faith and tested his worship in a way which seemed to contradict the gospel. However, in the end Abraham chose God over his family and received them all of us as an eternal reward. Remember all is not as it appears to be for a purpose. This life is a maze; a puzzle and a scavenger hunt which we must figure out with a little help from our friends the prophets. The tests keep coming and they don’t seem fair, but like it or not you are in it to win it.

    My heart and prayers go out to your friend and his family. Our lives are riddled with sorrows and joys, but in the end if we endure well the power of the Savior’s atonement will wash away all our sins, wipe away all our tears and heal all our wounds. This I know to be true.

  5. Geoff J on January 22, 2006 at 10:07 pm

    would God that all the LORD’S people were prophets, and that the LORD would put his spirit upon them!�

    Excellent citation. Thanks.

  6. Susan M on January 22, 2006 at 10:09 pm

    Great post Geoff.

  7. grego on January 22, 2006 at 10:22 pm

    good post, and comments.

    i think of one other thing that helps/ could help a lot is to remember what His voice sounds like, and help save us.

    as president woodruff said, write your spiritual experiences, esp. the great ones such as life-saving miracles, in your journal. one of the first questions i ask less-active LDS is “what was it like?” and most can’t, don’t, or won’t remember. if it’s the last, there’s less you can do about it; but what about the former? how many of us would benefit, in a spiritual drought, of reading or listening to our own strengthening words?

    a year or so ago, one sister who had many strong feelings against God and the Church read her own testimony, in her own words, written in her own hand a few years before that. what a shock! she balled because she remembered–she remembered she had had a testimony, she had tasted the sweetness and known it, etc.

  8. Rob on January 22, 2006 at 10:33 pm

    Thanks, Geoff. I had a close friend do something like this ten years ago and still mourn. He had been very charismatic, but became completely confused after some things didn’t go the way he felt inspired that they would. May also have been some mental health issues involved as well.

    Amen to your take on Givens and the BoM.

    Sometimes, even in the Church, we are pretty quick to roll our eyes when we hear someone talking about getting revelations–especially visions. Maybe we just want to be respectable? Your post has made me wonder if, even more than wasting our Mormonism, if we don’t actually have and exhibit the gifts of the Spirit, yet claim to have the true Church, that our lives bear a false witness?

  9. sarebear on January 22, 2006 at 10:59 pm

    Nope, that was not the last time. It’s a good thing He has infinite patience because we talk many times a day.

    I must say, as I think back, that that is right around when the beginnings of my illnesses began . . . the very beginnings, but of course I had no idea what was wrong. Anyway, without this rock of faith that was planted then, I shudder to think of where I might be.

    Yes, I don’t get to church often, though I am trying, but my faith is strong.

    I didn’t intend for my experience to turn into a testimony, but it did, lol!

    I also remember it so clearly because I did put it in my journal back then, one of the few entries for that year. And I am so glad I did. I re-read it a few years ago.

    It was something I have not thought about in a long time, though, so I am grateful to be reminded of it.

  10. Eric James Stone on January 22, 2006 at 11:17 pm

    Geoff,

    Glad to see a post from you I don’t feel the need to quibble with. Well said.

  11. Melinda on January 22, 2006 at 11:36 pm

    I had three experiences with God when I was in my teens and twenties. Then in my early thirties, I had depression, which cut me off entirely from God. It was a depressive episode, not a chronic disease. I spent two years on anti-depressants, and am still feeling some effects, but I think I’m well again.

    But I haven’t healed spiritually. I’ve been angry that God would just abandon me to depression, because I looked for him when I was suffering and he wasn’t there, not even in the temple. So I’m still not on speaking terms with him.

    It’s easier, and hurts less, to be angry than to be vulnerable. What if I tried to really commune with God again and he ignored me like he did when I needed him most? Who am I to think God ought to apologize to me? Who am I to think God will talk to me again after the way I blamed him for everything bad?

    But those spiritual experiences I had were so wonderful, maybe someday I’ll work up the courage to hope for an answer again. Maybe in a few years. I’m such a spiritual coward anymore.

  12. Rusty on January 22, 2006 at 11:58 pm

    Thanks for this Geoff. You’re right, of course.

  13. chronicler on January 23, 2006 at 12:33 am

    Geoff, the speaker at Sacrament meeting today spoke on this very subject. His approach was a bit different, the message remained the same. He mentioned in Matthew where Christ is asked what the great commandement was. And, he answered of course was to love God. The speaker asked if there was anyone in the room that could say that they loved God more than God loved us. He then said, that of course not, that God’s love would always be greater because he knows each of us and it was our duty to learn to love Him. That the only way to do that was to get to know him. Through and by personal revelation and relationship. It was a great talk and nice to be able to come here and read your words of testimony. Thank you.

  14. Bookslinger on January 23, 2006 at 1:23 am

    Melinda touches on an issue I also have with prayer. There are a few things that I don’t ask of Heavenly Father because I’m afraid of the answer.

    Answers to prayer, revelation, can come in so many ways. Perhaps the most basic is the yes/no, or confirmation-versus-stupor-of-thought, with a third option being no answer or response at all. At the other end of the spectrum are responses that are so clear you could write them down word for word.

    One of the biggest mistakes in my life was ignoring directions from the Holy Ghost. I was told to abandon what was obviously a righteous endeavor. I thought “God would never tell me to do that. That must be Satan whispering.” Many years later, as I struggled to understand why it turned out so bad, I finally got an answer: “Don’t you remember me telling you not to?”

    Moroni’s teaching on how to discern the Spirit is only level 101: That which is good comes from Christ, that which is bad comes from Satan. However, once you learn to recognize the voice of the Spirit, you’re ready for the next level, where you’re told things that don’t make sense from a human standpoint, and you have to have faith in the voice of the Spirit. An example is Nephi being told to kill Laban. It’s almost an Abrahamic test. Killing Isaac certainly didn’t make sense, and I’m sure Abraham didn’t tell Sarah what he was planning on doing that day. God could have killed Laban without using Nephi, perhaps with a heart attack or choking on his own vomit. It was a test for Nephi. (And I think a way of preventing Laman and Lemuel’s return to the city, for the family would be wanted.)

    But those two things, 1) Actually recognizing the voice of the Spirit, and not judging the source of that whisper by the content of the message, and 2) having the courage to do whatever the Spirit says, regardless of what other people will think, open up the door not only to more revelation but also mighty gifts and miracles.

    I agree with Geoff and Moroni. I believe the Lord wants to pour out his Spirit, and gifts and miracles in greater measure, but we limit him with our fear, lack of faith, laziness, giving in to peer pressure, societal expectations, false traditions, etc.

  15. sarebear on January 23, 2006 at 4:23 am

    I took a leap, this week, and followed through on a prompting, that I was scared to, because it was within a day or so of some really, really bad news. And it seemed to be irresponsible, given the news we had received. I have part of the positive results of following the prompting, but still have to trust that the rest of it will work out. Holy crap, was I scared. Now, the deed is done, and I am just holding on to the Lord, because hey, He told me to.

    I so often wonder if it’s just me, or my illnesses, because I do get urges to do things, and obsessive thoughts about doing various things, both mundane, and not so mundane. But in this instance, I believe I was correct in discerning the Spirit.

    My state of mind/being doesn’t always easily permit that, but I am glad that this week I know.

    Urk, I kinda rambled there. I guess that faith that was planted so long ago, that I have felt grow into a knowledge that is hard to explain, a gift of faith and knowledge, is serving me well this week, and I am glad of it, because THINKING about things, and events, and promptings, and the whole chain just does not make any SENSE, when you try to work it out intellectually.

  16. sarebear on January 23, 2006 at 4:25 am

    Woops, sorry to post, again. It’s also especially meaningful to me, to have received inspiration, though it be at least somewhat difficult, and illogical, this week, because I so OFTEN act illogically and irresponsibly, in manners and ways strongly influenced by and even symptomatic of the mental illnesses I suffer from. So it’s sweet to know that this time I am not resting on my own weakness, but on the Lord’s strength.

  17. Klear on January 23, 2006 at 11:18 am

    This is such an interesting topic. I struggle with my testimony daily. I enjoy studying other religions, especially eastern religions, but nothing quite compares to Mormonism. Through study of other religions, I’ve been able to understand Mormonism much more. I like the way Confucius and Lao Tsu teach even if it is only philosophy. The idea that we can receive personal revelation is mind boggling!

    My father is a very spiritual man (sometimes it drives me nuts!) and he refers to it as revelatory privileges. Currently he works with about 200 missionaries and he often refers to their revelatory privilege. A privilege is something we earn. I’ve heard my father say more than once that we, as members of a church that claims divine authority, live well beneath our revelatory privileges. I’ve thought about that often and I always feel kind of sad. I wonder what I’m missing sometimes. I also get excited when I thing about it. It gives me something to work for.

    Although we’re all in different stages of spirituality, I think it will be an amazing day when the church collectively becomes more righteous and we live up to our revelatory privileges. I know that I have much work to do before I live up to my potential.

  18. Geoff J on January 23, 2006 at 11:48 am

    Good comments all. Here are a couple of replies:

    Rob (#8) – I think you are on to something. The true church is required to display the fruits of the true church (including the gifts of God). If we don’t have them is our lives are we like the barren fig tree that Christ cursed?

    Melinda (#11) – Thanks for that. I think we can all relate to feeling angry at God for something. I have dicovered that he is always up for reconciliation though. And further, he often is willing to help me understand why he acted as he did. I’ve been rejected on lots of things but I love what I’ve gotten in place of my requests. I like them more than I would have liked the things I asked for in fact.

  19. Eric on January 23, 2006 at 12:42 pm

    Is there something about the Bloggernacle that makes it inappropriate to say, ‘pray about it’ during a debate? It seems like there is. There have been many times in discussions here where if I were talking to someone in person that I probably would recommend praying about it as a solution, but currently would not dare do that on the ‘nacle.

    Is it fair to say that in this kind of forum that pulling out personal revelation would almost be fighting words, or some sort of spiritual threat? Like – how dare you argue with my, I have had personal revelation?

  20. Geoff J on January 23, 2006 at 12:56 pm

    Eric,

    Yes, I think saying “pray about it” is usually inappropriate in bloggernacle debates. If the debate is on a doctrinal issue I hope that eventually praying about a doctrine is implicit. But here, we are usually all about the “study it out in your mind” phase of learning. And yes, saying “pray about itâ€? is tantamount to fightin’ words in many cases. For instance, I have posted on several unsettled or controversial doctrinal subjects in my guest posting time here. I have given them a lot of thought and I feel good about my positions — meaning God is apparently not against me believing as I do. So, for instance, if I am convinced that God lives within time and someone else is convinced that he lives outside of time, me telling that other person to “pray about it” is essentially me throwing down the gauntlet and declaring the discussion over. It implies that I am right and God knows it and that by disagreeing with me my opponent is disagreeing with God. The problem is that I have no authority to declare any such thing. So all it does is make me look like a nut and close the door to further dialogue. There are plenty of settled issues in the church that must eventually conclude with the “pray about it” request (whether God lives, whether Jesus is the Christ, whether the BoM is from God, etc.) , but those are not usually the things we talk about here. One of the attractions of the ‘nacle is that we talk about the other parts that many of us have questions about – and we do as part of the studying phase.

  21. Tim J. on January 23, 2006 at 1:13 pm

    Eric,

    Using personal revelation is seen as a sort of “trump card” which would, in effect, end all debate and argument. How would you debate with someone who claims to have received personal revelation that he’s right and you’re wrong? This is why I don’t do it. I want my ideas and views discussed as rationally and as logically as possible.

  22. Jeremiah J. on January 23, 2006 at 2:23 pm

    I’m glad that this post has generated some very moving expressions of testimony and faith in revelation. But I think that Geoff’s suggestion that failing to receive revelation is an instance of denying the gifts of God, is wrong. Just because one does not recieve revelation does not mean that one denies revelation itself, denies that others do recieve revelation, denies that the church is led by revelation, or denies that one could and may well receive revelation in the future. There is nothing in Moroni’s discussion of the gifts of God that should lead anyone to conclude that.

    Mormonism is indeed a religion of revelation (though we’re not unique in claiming this for ourselves). To be a Mormon is, I think, to wish to have revelation from God, to believe that revelations do in fact occur, to think that in general we should be receiving revelation. But we also must realize that revelation doesn’t come from us, on our time, or according to our purposes. As Mormons we also believe that we should have joy and should live in families. But this doesn’t give us any justification for accusing those who aren’t currently full of joy or aren’t yet married of *denying* the possibility of happiness or the value of the eternal family.

  23. MDS on January 23, 2006 at 2:24 pm

    I think another significant reason why personal revelation is key to our relationship with God is the issue of repentance. Absent true confirmation that I stand right before God after repenting (or attempting to repent) of my sins, I’m left wondering whether what I’ve done is adequate and become more focused on my works than on the grace and mercy inherent in the Atonement. Similarly, if what I have done requires restitution of some sort, I need to received the Lord’s guidance on what restitution I should make, or how to right the wrong I have done. True repentance requires a change of heart, and that change can only happen through personal revelation.

  24. sarebear on January 23, 2006 at 3:27 pm

    Re: #19 –

    Did I do wrong in my first comment, near the end where I encourage experiment upon the words of the scriptures? Which is basically saying, pray about it . . . with an open-ended time-frame, because it can take along time. But still.

    I hope I didn’t do wrong! I was just kinda filled with the Spirit at the time. And I also talked about my own personal revelation, at least, somewhat, to illustrate ONE way of struggling with it, and desiring it, and searching for it, and studying it out, etc. I hope that wasn’t wrong, either?

    Urk. I hate being such a ninny, anxiety-wise. I’ll just pretend you say it was ok, and hope that it is. Lol!

    I think I understand, though, that the context of usage for “pray about it”, and pulling out the “trump card” of personal revelation, is much different than my postings . . . I think I understand what you are getting at. And so I think I’m ok.

    (Sorry to be this way, but I just gotta keep being me and that’s how I’ll keep growing and learning; wow, that’s more accepting of myself than I usually am . . . .)

  25. Geoff J on January 23, 2006 at 4:45 pm

    Sarebear,

    No, don’t worry. Your first comment was very well received. (I think Eric’s question was more about general bloggernacle tendencies rather than a reflection on any one comment anyway.)

  26. sarebear on January 23, 2006 at 5:23 pm

    Cool, I was hoping so, on all counts. (I do have a bit of paranoia, actually high anxieties couldn’t really exist without it, I wouldn’t think. Lol!) I guess it’s sort of a negative narcissism, in that I anxiously think everything is about me. Sorry, again. Dangit, I need to quit apologizing! Lol.

  27. LDS Patriot on January 23, 2006 at 7:01 pm

    Jeremiah J., I fully appreciated post. You make excellent points. I want to focus on your statement “But we also must realize that revelation doesn’t come from us, on our time, or according to our purposes.�

    I support Geoff J assertions. It’s been reported that McConkie in effect, “If it’s going to take revelation, then it might as well be now.�

    One purpose of the Holy Ghost and priesthood and the temple is to prepare us to have the Second Comforter, which is to see and talk with Jesus Christ. Therefore, while the Second Comforter is one step/level on the latter to heaven, it implies many revelations would preclude that step/level.

  28. Dan S. on January 23, 2006 at 7:16 pm

    Excellent post, Geoff.

    However, I would like to comment on your comment about “pray about it� in comment 20.

    You said . . . “So all it does is make me look like a nut and close the door to further dialogue”.

    I agree that if you present your revelation as being an “authoritative” stance, then you are right, amen.

    However, isn’t it also true that truths have many facets – like a object with many sides, it can take on a different perspective depending on our vantage, our background, or our previous knowledge?
    Therefore, if God sheds light on one face of a truth to one individual, I think it can actually be helpful for that individual to introduce his or her revelation in light of their situtation – without taking an authoritative stance. If so, then it can be very helpful for the saints to add to the dialogue with their their revelations of how light was shed on the truth in their situations. The result is a more complete view through the perspective of revelation and the gifts of the spirit instead of just as an analytical discussion.

    Therefore, I don’t think we need to be standoffish when it comes to personal revelations being discussed on blogs because they are just as subject to interpretation as the prophets revelations in almost every single post written about in the bloggernacle (whether they relate to fundamental doctrines or whether they relate to fringe doctrines).

    In the same way, I also don’t think we need to be standoffish about the suggestion to pray about it because, as long as it isn’t presented in an authoritative way, then it can actually be seen as an invitation for that individual to comment on their own personal understanding through the “gifts of the spirit”. I think it is appropriate to say something like “have you prayed about it, and if so, could you share your inspirational insight” (opening the door to discussion) as opposed to “well, why don’t you just pray about it” (closing the door to discussion).

  29. Jeremiah J. on January 24, 2006 at 12:34 am

    LDS Patriot: “One purpose of the Holy Ghost and priesthood and the temple is to prepare us to have the Second Comforter, which is to see and talk with Jesus Christ. Therefore, while the Second Comforter is one step/level on the latter to heaven, it implies many revelations would preclude that step/level.”

    I’m not opposed to the idea that revelation is necessary for salvation. I agree that this is true. What I disagree with is the idea that not receiving revelations (in the sense of a regular dialogue with God) is an instance of denying the power of God. Even stranger, I think, is using Moroni 10 to make the point–Moroni lists any number of gifts, most of which contemporary members of the church are more than willing to admit they don’t experience on a regular basis. Are we all denying the power of God because we aren’t beholding angels or working mighty miracles on a regular basis? Or is it just revelation? Why?

  30. Geoff J on January 24, 2006 at 1:28 am

    Jeremiah (#22),

    Thanks for the comment. I’m glad the comments aren’t exclusively high fives.

    You said: But we also must realize that revelation doesn’t come from us, on our time, or according to our purposes.

    I think any kind of revelation counts as good revelation. Some people try to differentiate between “inspiration” and “revelation” but I see no support for that in the scriptures. God revealing truth to us in any form is revelation as far as I’m concerened. The still small voice is still revelation. (Yes, there are differences in amount of information various revelations convey, but it is all still God talking to us.) Therefore, hearing a truth in Sunday school and feeling God confirm that truth is revelation as far as I’m concerened. The more clearly we can “hear” or feel that confirmation the better, of course. Therefore, I don’t think we have to wait for long periods for revelation — many (or most?) times the heavenly confirmations are being whispered to us but we simply are not hearing or discerning them. (Sort of the radio analogy that the brethren have often employed — the signal is there and we can tune in to it if we can get the dialing process down.) The more we recognize the whispers and get tuned in to those, the easier it will be to get more detailed information I think.

  31. Geoff J on January 24, 2006 at 1:42 am

    Dan S.: could you share your inspirational insight� (opening the door to discussion) as opposed to “well, why don’t you just pray about it� (closing the door to discussion).

    Yes. Good point.

    Jeremiah: Even stranger, I think, is using Moroni 10 to make the point–Moroni lists any number of gifts

    The point I was trying to make in the post is that all of the listed gifts require revelation. Therefore, while we need not have all of the gifts in our lives, if we have any of them we have revelation. If we get no revelation of any kind we have none of those gifts and are thus denying (or declining) them.

  32. Geoff J on January 24, 2006 at 2:51 am

    Klear (#17): Sorry, I think you got caught in moderation. I love your father’s saying: “under-utilizing our revelatory privileges”. Thanks.

    MDS (#23): Excellent point about repentance. Without some direct connection with God the whole process is made extremely difficult.

  33. Eric on January 24, 2006 at 9:55 am

    I’ve been away a while. You are right to say that my comments were general Geoff. I was just exploring what role personal revelation should have on the Bloggernacle. I have heard it said once, I don’t remember the source, that one of the reasons we don’t get more personal revelation is because if we got it we would publish it to the world. It is not public revelation, it is personal revelation. In almost all cases we wshould keep it to ourselves and only share it when we feel inspired to do so. I feel this inspiration is more likely to come in one-on-one private real-life conversations. Not in a public forum like this.

  34. Mike W. on January 24, 2006 at 2:07 pm

    I wonder it sometimes it’s not so much that we don’t receive the revelations, but that we don’t recognize personal revelation when it comes. The inspiration that comes in answer to prayer can be extremely subtle and by not taking the time to ponder or having the humility to see something outside ourselves as guiding us, we are likely to ignore the fact that it is revelation from our loving Father.

    That said, I am grateful for the post. I know that I need to be more anxiously engaged in the dialogic revelation that God wants to give to me.